Injured cycle champ Simon Richardson thanks supporters

Simon Richardson was awarded an MBE after his Beijing successes Simon Richardson was awarded an MBE after his Beijing successes

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Double Paralympic champion Simon Richardson has sent a "huge thank you" to well-wishers after he was injured in an alleged hit-and-run.

The 44-year-old remains in a critical but stable condition after being in collision with a van while cycling on the A48 near Bridgend on Wednesday.

A 59-year-old driver has been released on police bail after being arrested.

Mr Richardson suffered multiple fractures but following a scan, surgeons have decided not to operate.

His sponsor, Phil Jones said on Friday that surgery to his back, pelvis and breastbone has not been ruled out but the breaks will be given a chance to heal naturally first.

He added: "The wounds to Simon's left leg will be closed today in order to reduce infection risk.

"No trauma injury was received to his right leg [which he pedals with], so there is some relief that no injury has been sustained to it.

'Overwhelming support'

"Simon sends a huge thank you for the many thousands of support messages he has received from all over the world.

Start Quote

Simon Richardson

Simon sends a huge thank you for the many thousands of support messages he has received from all over the world”

End Quote Phil Jones Friend and sponsor

"His wife Amanda and close family are drawing great strength from the overwhelming support they have received at this difficult time."

Mr Jones confirmed that Mr Richardson, who won two gold medals and a silver at Beijing in 2008, is currently sedated.

UK governing body British Cycling has called for road safety to be highlighted at government level after a crash in which a Paralympian was seriously hurt.

Gareth Sheppard, the team's performance manager, said: "All our thoughts are with Simon and his family".

He called for increased awareness of cyclists by all road users: "You've got little protection as a cyclist because you are so exposed.

"We very much want to make sure racing and cycling in general on the road is safe and there does need to be a government-backed campaign on the issue."

Paralympics GB chief executive Tim Hollingsworth added: "We're deeply shocked by the news of Simon's accident.

"He's in our thoughts and, on behalf of everyone in the British Paralympic family, we wish him a speedy recovery."

Mr Richardson was airlifted from the scene of the collision outside Crack Hill House, Bridgend, and flown to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

Rehabilitation

Mr Richardson had been involved in another serious crash in 2001, which left him permanently disabled.

He was hit by a car, which left him with serious leg and back injuries and no feeling down his left hand side.

Doctors recommended cycling would help his rehabilitation, so he continued, using a specially-adapted bike powered by his right leg.

It was during his five-year rehabilitation that he started competing and became a medal winner in Beijing 2008. He was later awarded the MBE.

South Wales Police have appealed for witnesses to the crash at about 09:45 on Wednesday, or anyone who may have been travelling between Cowbridge and Bridgend on the A48 and saw a white small van leaving the area, to come forward.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the South Wales Police roads policing unit on 02920 633438 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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